We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Do I Choose the Best Violin Pickup?

By Emily Daw
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Musical Expert is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Musical Expert, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Notoriously quiet instruments, violins can easily be overpowered by the more boisterous sounds of drums, electric guitars or even powerful vocals in contemporary music. To compensate for this, choosing a good violin pickup is essential. The primary factors to consider when choosing your violin pickup are how the pickup attaches to the instrument and the kind of transducer it uses.

Some varieties of violin pickups attach to the bridge or clamp on to the body of the instrument. These tend to be the easiest type to install, but the contact with the violin body may dampen the resonance quality slightly. They can be moved to specific locations on the instrument for variations on tone production, such as under the lower strings to amplify the tone of lower notes or under the higher strings to amplify the upper register. Many of these models can be easily used with a standard acoustic violin.

Other types of pickups actually replace the bridge of the violin. They may contain individual transducers for each string or a single transducer for all strings. Since they measure the vibration of the strings directly at the bridge, which is where the sound is produced in the instrument, bridge-replacement pickups produce the tone quality that is most similar to an unamplified acoustic violin. They are also the least likely to produce feedback — the squealing or screeching noise that comes from the microphone picking backup sounds from the speaker. Since there is no variation on the placement, a bridge-replacement violin pickup tends to produce the most consistent tone quality.

Even though they offer several benefits, bridge units still have limitations. Certain models are designed only for an electric violin and cannot be fitted to a standard acoustic violin. If you want to move back and forth between amplified and natural sound, a different type of violin pickup might a better option for you.

The next factor to consider is the type of transducer the violin pickup uses. Simply put, a transducer converts one type of energy into another type. In the case of a violin pickup, a transducer converts the mechanical or electromagnetic vibration of the strings into electrical impulses, which are then converted to an amplified sound.

One popular type of acoustic violin transducer is the piezoelectric transducer, which measures the mechanical vibration of the string. These tend to have the best sound quality from lower strings, but may sound thin or weak in the higher strings. When used with a high-quality preamplifier, a piezoelectric transducer tends to produce the purest sound.

The other common type of transducer is the electromagnetic transducer, which is similar to an electric guitar pickup. Measuring the electromagnetic impulses given off by the vibration of steel strings, electromagnetic pickups are highly sensitive and can produce a wide dynamic range. Compared to the sound of an acoustic violin, the tone produced by an electromagnetic transducer may have a tinny or mechanical sound. Whether this is preferable to the more open sound of an acoustic instrument depends on the type of music you want to play as well as your own personal preference. These transducers may accidentally transmit other electromagnetic signals like those of cell phone transmissions due to their sensitivity.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.